herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Horror ordeal for taxi driver mercilessly beaten by gang who tried to steal his vehicle

Rutland Grove in Crumlin, where the vicious attack occured
Rutland Grove in Crumlin, where the vicious attack occured

A taxi driver is in hospital with serious head injuries after being attacked by four people in a hijacking.

The victim, a 59-year-old man, was targeted after taking the gang from the city centre to a house in South Dublin.

When the car arrived at Rutland Grove in Crumlin, shortly after midnight yesterday, he was viciously attacked.

The gang beat him over the head and assaulted him until he was overpowered. The victim was then forced from the car.

As he lay seriously injured, the callous thugs attempted to steal the taxi but failed to start the car. They then fled the scene on foot, making off with the victim's phone and a sum of cash.

Gardai were notified and units from Sundrive Road and Crumlin garda stations responded to the scene.

Following a brief search, four young people were arrested on Sundrive Road, a short distance from the scene of the violent hijacking.

The gang, two males and two females who are aged in their late teens and early 20s, were last night being held at different garda stations across the capital.

Premeditated

Sources have revealed that one of the suspects, who is originally from the Clondalkin area, is also being investigated for involvement in a similar attack in recent weeks.

None of those arrested live in the area where the taxi dropped them and gardai suspect it was a premeditated crime.

"This was an extremely violent assault and as we've seen in recent times, such incidents involving taxi drivers being targeted are becoming more frequent," a source told the Herald.

"One of the males arrested is also suspected of carrying out a similar crime in recent weeks."

The taxi driver was rushed by ambulance to St James's Hospital, where he remains, with serious head and facial injuries.

A garda spokesman said the four arrested people were being held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 for questioning at Sundrive Road, Crumlin and Rathmines garda stations.

"A scene of the incident and the taxi have been examined by scenes of crime officers and enquiries are ongoing," he said.

"The taxi driver is continuing to recover in hospital, his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening."

Fianna Fail councillor Daithi de Roiste, chair of the local joint policing committee, said that more had to be done to protect taxi drivers.

"Incidents like this are on the rise and we must do more to protect taxi drivers," he said.

"Every week I am hearing of attacks on them and it is simply disgraceful that people are getting away with this.

"My thoughts are with the driver and his family in his recovery but it is not good enough for all of us that this is allowed to continue.

"It will get to the stage where drivers will be reluctant to work and that affects everyone in our community."

It is the latest assault on a taxi driver in the capital and comes just weeks after a racist assault on a driver last month.

On April 21, a taxi driver was punched and racially abused in a shocking incident which was recorded and widely shared online. The suspect has since presented himself to gardai.

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